Patients diagnosed with non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) may receive a variety of chemotherapy drugs as treatment for the disease. The purpose of this study is to find the highest dose of nivolumab that can be given safely in patients with newly diagnosed NSCLC when used in combination with the drugs gemcitabine/cisplatin, pemetrexed/cisplatin, or carboplatin/paclitaxel.
Nivolumab boosts the body’s immune system by targeting a protein on white blood cells called PD-1. PD-1 normally maintains the balance of the immune system by shutting it down at the right time. Some cancers take advantage of this shut-down mechanism by activating PD-1, enabling them to escape attack by the body’s white blood cells.
Nivolumab binds to and inactivates PD-1, enhancing the body’s ability to detect and destroy cancer cells. It is hoped that by combining it with chemotherapy drugs, cancer cell death can be enhanced. Nivolumab is approved for treating melanoma; its use for treating other cancers is considered investigational.